After months of reports and rumours, EA has confirmed that FIFA 23, due out later this year, will be the final game in its annual football sim franchise to use the FIFA license for its name, with entries from next year onwards releasing with the title EA Sports FC. Previous reports had indicated that FIFA was demanding $2.5 billion from EA every four years for continued use of the license, but now that the long-standing partnership between the two has ended, what becomes of FIFA in the gaming space?
As you may have expected, the organization is going to attempt to keep moving forward without EA. In a recently published update, FIFA confirmed that it already has “number of new non-simulation games” in development with other partnered developers and publishers. One of these is described as “a tailored gaming experience featuring the biggest event on earth”, i.e. the World Cup, and will launch in Q3 of this year, ahead of the tournament, which is scheduled November and December of this year.
In addition to that, FIFA says it is now adopting a non-exclusive model that will see its yearly annual series continuing in partnership with other gaming companies. In a strongly (and bafflingly) worded statement, FIFA president Gianni Infantino has said that the FIFA series will remain the premier football sim on the market, even in the absence of EA Sports.
“I can assure you that the only authentic, real game that has the FIFA name will be the best one available for gamers and football fans,” Infantino says. “The FIFA name is the only global, original title. FIFA 23, FIFA 24, FIFA 25 and FIFA 26, and so on – the constant is the FIFA name and it will remain forever and remain THE BEST.”
“The interactive gaming and esports sector is on a path of unrivalled growth and diversification. FIFA’s strategy is to ensure we can make the most of all future options and ensure a wide range of products and opportunities for gamers, fans, member associations and partners.”
Saying that making games is a difficult and complicated process would be a massive understatement, but Infantino seems to wildly underestimating the scope of that task. It will be interesting to see what publishers the organization partners with moving forward, and how that will impact the FIFA series with future instalments.
This year, at the very least, will see EA Sports’ FIFA 23 launching for PC, PlayStation, and Xbox.